Magnetic Island North Queensland
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September 15th 2009
Arson, sabotage, what next for the green waste tip?

Smoldering remains of the green waste fire this morning Arson and industrial sabotage it is already and, perhaps one day, manslaughter will be added to the list of crimes occurring at the green waste dump in Picnic Bay as the second “deliberately lit” fire since April has just roared through the area.

According to owner, Mr Patrick Bolger, the fire was started at about 9.45pm last night. The fire was quickly contained by the MI Fire brigade but between $6,000 and $8,000 worth of green waste, ready to be mulched the next day, was lost to the flames. This is the second time since April the material has gone up in smoke and, like the last fire, was started on the night before mulching was to start.

Patrick is convinced the fire was again deliberately lit inside the compound which has 2 metre cyclone fencing on all sides.

Nobody was hurt in the blaze and the expensive plant used to mulch the waste was not burned but along with the fires Patrick Bolger has great cause for concern. Four times since April this year Patrick has repeatedly found lumps of steel and other objects hidden in piles of mulch which had been screened and mulched before its second run through the machine. These objects could not have found their way into the piles without somebody deliberately placing them there and, apart from the damage to his equipment, Patrick is most concerned that a lump of steel will be thrown out by the machine and kill or maim his staff or any other person nearby who could be hit by the missile. “The machine can be repaired but a human life cannot,”said Patrick.

One of the steel "teeth" which was hidden in the
mulch and passed into the mulching machine

Patrick Bolger shows where a missile could fly from

The hammers inside the mulcher

Patrick believes he and his business is being sabotaged and has some ideas of who could be involved but, for obvious reasons, is not prepared to divulge publicly who it may be.

In a recent situation a disused “tooth” from a machine was removed from a nearby bin and placed well down in the mulch pile. The lump was then collected by the front end loader and dropped into the mulcher which, according to Patrick, “Has a three quarters of a tonne drum rotating at 2000 RPM with 28 swinging steel hammers each weighing about 17 kgs. When steel hits it the hammers disintegrate making more potential missiles.

Patrick is also concerned at the number of people who try to save money by dumping non-green waste with their green waste at the dump. Patrick has seen everything from bike rims to sections of pagolas left with leaves and branches for mulching.

Ironically, Patrick had spent yesterday in Townsville purchasing a new infra red surveillance system for the dump.

Magnetic Times was unable to contact MI Police for any further information but it is believed that their investigation is continuing.

Patrick is pleased with the police response so far and is also very pleased with the support he has had from Townsville City Council, “Particularly Ian Kuhl,” he said.

Anybody with information they think could assist police with their investigations should contact Magnetic Island Police on 4778 5270 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Story & photos: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Arson, sabotage, what next for the green waste tip?
Barbara Gibbs
September 15th 2009
When the culprit/s are found and captivated, they should be deported from the island, as they are a hazard to an island environment and the community. To enable them to continue to abide in an island habitat is risking further problems, and if they have such a demented mentality, could never be a positive member of our society. They need mental help and the sooner the better.
Dani Ryan
September 15th 2009
What a shocker! Patrick and Raelene, I am so sorry to hear that madness has struck again. Please catch the idiot/s and maybe re-introduce the stocks of old England so we can all get a good look at them.
September 15th 2009
Whoever is getting a kick out of lighting fires at the tip, whether it because of their own moronic behaviour or some vindictive grudge they have against tip management, should be dealt the same punishment that would be inflicted on firebugs in Victoria.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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